17th Oct. Wed. Service “Immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading”

October 17 | 2019

Below is the summary of the sermon

[John 6:16-21]

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

┬áThis story is from a pastor who traveled to the Near East. – In the Near East, there are Eastern silversmiths. They work with coins that have been given to them by Western tourists, melting them down, and then forming them into small pieces of jewelry. Eventually, they sell them back to any of the tourists who will buy them. This is done in a primitive way. Generally, there is a small furnace over which sits a pot containing the molten silver. The coin is dropped in and melted. Every so often the silversmith goes over to the pot of silver, looks into it, scrapes off a bit of the dross that has collected, and then returns to his work. After a while, he looks in, finds that the silver is ready, and begins to form it.

“Why do you constantly look into the silver?” we might ask. The silversmith would answer, “I look into the silver until I find that the dross is all gone and the silver purified; I know when the dross is gone because I can see myself reflected in the silver as in a fine mirror.” –

Here is the explanation of that wonderful passage in Malachi in which God tells us that he shall sit as a “refiner and purifier of silver,” and of why Christians are so often called upon to go through the fires and testings of this life. God wants to make us like the Lord Jesus Christ. He does it by working to see. The Bible tells us, “The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Heb. 12:6). This principle is illustrated in the story now before us.

In the sixth chapter of John we are told that after the multitude who had been fed with the loaves and fish in Galilee had tried to make Jesus king, Jesus slipped away from them. He went up into a mountain alone to pray. The disciples eventually went down to the Sea of Galilee and got into a boat in order to sail back to Capernaum. Mark in his account of the incident tells us that Jesus had instructed them to go home (Mark 6:45). This is the first great fact of the story, for it means that Jesus himself had sent them across the lake by boat knowing full well what was to happen.

The night came on and with the night a great storm. I wonder what the disciples were thinking about as they rowed their boat through the storm for those six or seven dangerous hours. They were worried, no doubt. But did they ever think Jesus and of his power to help them? Did they realize that even then they were in his care?

Of course, they should have recognized this. In fact, it is even evident that Jesus sent them into the storm to teach them this lesson and to help their faith grow. For one thing, they had just witnessed Christ’s care in the feeding of the multitudes. The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish should have taught them that Jesus did know, that his power was adequate and that he did care.

For another thing, the disciples had already witnessed the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to calm troubled waters. This particular story from an earlier period in Christ’s ministry is not told in John’s Gospel, but Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record it (Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25).

Did the disciples remember this in the midst of the new storm as once again they found themselves rowing across the Sea of Galilee? Did they trust Christ to protect them? Of did they argue, as we do, that this time Jesus was not actually with them and could do nothing?

I am not sure that there is a certain answer to be given to the question of whether the disciples had learned to trust Jesus or else were fearful, but as I read the story and contrast it with the earlier incident I sense that their faith had grown. In the earlier account, we are told they were fearful. In this account, even though they were frightened when Jesus came walking on the water (they thought he was a ghost), we are not told that they were frightened by the storm. We are told only that they kept rowing.

What did the disciples learn through this experience? First, they learned that, although they had not been aware of it, Jesus was watching. Mark explains that when he was up on the mountain alone “he saw the disciples straining at the oars” (Mark 6:48).

Have the experiences through which you have gone taught you that Jesus is watching you and knows your circumstances? He does not make things too easy for any of us. He knows that muscles that are never used grow flabby. We must row in rough weather sometimes. There is work to be done. But do we know, even as we do the work, that Jesus’ eye is upon us?

He has told that not “a sparrow” falls to the ground without his knowledge and that the hairs of our head are “all numbered” (Matt. 10:29-31). He said, “And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt.28:20). Do you realize that he is with you? Do you sense that his eye is upon you as it was upon the disciples?

The second truth the disciples learned is that Jesus helps. Jesus watches us, it is true. But he does not watch with some kind of serene, unmoved detachment. He watches us in order to help. Unfortunately, we often do without him, because we do not wait for his help or listen to his voice.

Finally, the disciples learned that Jesus was also able to bring them home. He not only helped; he got them to the place they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading” (v.21).

The psalmist says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this” (Ps. 37:5).

We must commit ourselves to Jesus. The Bible speaks of this in different ways, but in each case, it is clear that it involves an act of our will. It says that we are to believe in Jesus, which means that we are to place ourselves in his hands. It says that we are to receive him, which means that we are to invite him into our lives. Will you do that? Will you admit your sin, believe that he is able to save you, and then commit your life into his keeping. When you do that you will learn that he came not merely to save you from the guilt of your sins but also to take charge of your life. Why not hand yourself over to him today? Say, “Lord Jesus Christ, I give myself to you. I want you to take charge of my life.” It is a wise choice, for he is able to keep and bless all those who put their trust in him.